New Waves in Spain

Before the decline of passions around the Catalan crisis, Spain was covered by a new, even more powerful wave, which washed away the government of the center-right People's Party (PP) led by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. For the first time in Spanish history, a new prime minister, Pedro Sánchez from the opposition Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE), came to power not through the "front door" as the leader of the party that won the parliamentary elections, but after a no-confidence vote in the parliament against Rajoy. 

The reason was the long-standing "Gürtel corruption case", which was investigated for ten years. But the real reason, as Mariano Rajoy is convinced, is not related to the case, but to the ambitions of Pedro Sánchez, who took advantage of the situation. After all, according to the law, the party that takes the initiative of a no-confidence vote, should nominate its candidate to the post of prime minister.

Perhaps this is true. Young (forty-six years old), educated, economist by profession, photogenic sportsman, Pedro Sánchez from the first minute showed that he was radically different from all his predecessors. During the ceremony at the royal residence in Madrid, he swore an oath without the traditional religious attributes - the Bible and the Crucifix, and showed himself as a convinced atheist. By the way, the Constitution, which he pledged to defend, declares Spain an "aconfessional state", i.e. respectful of the Catholic tradition, but at the same time fully recognizing the freedom of conscience and religious beliefs.

It is noteworthy, that according to the April poll of the leading Spanish Center for Sociological Research (CIS), 59% of Spaniards considered the activity of the People's Party (PP) poorly and very poorly, but the assessment of the PSOE was even worse - 60.3%. 82% of Spaniards had no confidence to Rajoy, and even more - 85.5% did not trust Pedro Sánchez. In Parliament, the new prime minister also relies on a minority. Clearly, it will not be easy for him to deal with such issues as Catalonia.

On the one hand, as leader of the socialists, he continues to pursue the line of development and expansion of democracy, which according to PSOE means a move towards federalism and the expansion of the powers of autonomous governments. It is not by chance that under the Socialist government in 2006 many Autonomous Communities, constituting the Spanish State of autonomies, began to reconsider their autonomous Statutes. Catalonia in its new Statute began to define itself as a “nation” rather than “nationality”.

On the other hand, Pedro Sánchez made it clear that he will defend the unity of the country and does not support separatist aspirations in Catalonia. But he is ready for a dialogue with the Catalan leaders, which, apparently, will take place soon. So, the new Prime Minister of Spain Pedro Sánchez and the new Head of the Catalan Generalitat Quim Torra begin relations with a "blank sheet", but this sheet has a quite definite format. For Sánchez the faithfulness to the Constitution is very important, which presumes the preservation of the monarchy and unity of the country, for Quim Torra it is necessary to move Catalonia toward the creation of an independent republic. Moreover, Quim Torra wants a dialogue of "government with the government". Even with the most successful negotiations, the Catalan problem is unlikely to be resolved quickly and painlessly.  Pedro Sánchez will have to reckon with the opinion of all the Spaniards regarding the Catalan question. Over the past few years, in all regions, except Catalonia and the Basque Country, the proportion of those who favor the expansion of the autonomous powers is declining.

Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.